5 Bloody Moments in Violent Sporting History

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Horror has nothing to do with sports, right? STEWART KING begs to differ. Here are five of the bloodiest violent sporting moments in history.

Buzkashi Match, violent sporting history

Goat Polo

Not just a sport for the Pimms brigade. Formerly known as Bughazi this was the same sport but used as training by the Persian cavalry in 600 BC. It was often played with armies of men rather than teams and the carcass of a goat or a recently decapitated human head – a nice touch added by Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan.

Head Football

Let’s stick with the decapitated head theme as we examine Jeremy Bentham – an English author, jurist, philosopher and legal and social reformer. His will requested that his corpse be dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture. His skeleton and head were then preserved and the figure dressed put on display in University Colllege London in 1850. The real head had to be replaced with a wooden one after students stole it and played football with it in Russell Square.

Aztec Death Paddle

Or Ullamaliztli – a ceremonial game where players used a paddle to bounce a small rubber ball down a long court with steep stone walls. Sounds OK but the loser captains were sacrificed to the Gods. Maybe bloody ritual butchery would be a ratings friendly way of pepping up Premier League Football.

Cheese Rolling

Although responsible for the highest amount of injuries in the shortest amount of time, this barking mad race down Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire after a rolling cheese still takes place every year and yields plenty of split heads, concussions and broken bones. Should be an Olympic sport along with wicker man burning. I’m sure the country would love to see G4S on the pire.

Viking Cricket

In the 1900s details of Icelandic customs were transcribed and this game seemed to bear a striking resemblance to the sport we know today – with less match fixing. Not the sound of leather on willow but pulverised bone on spiked club. Brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘test match.’ The difference between this version and contemporary cricket seems to be that nobody expected to survive let alone return to the pavilion for tea and cucumber sandwiches.


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